Day 181 – ‘Hunger Strike’

As my friend Dennis Hitzeman pointed out in a comment yesterday, part of makes Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder so interesting is that they performed together.

Brief history lesson: before Soundgarden and Pearl Jam became two of the most successful bands of the 1990s, various members of both bands (most notably Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell and Pearl Jam lead guitarist Mike McCready) formed a supergroup of sorts named Temple of the Dog. This is around 1991.

Realize that neither band was big yet. This is before “Black Hole Sun” and “Even Flow,” before “Fell on Black Days” and “Alive.” It’s also either right before or right around the release of Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” which is probably the seminal rock record of the 90s (even if I don’t necessarily love Nirvana — their impact is unquestionable).

So, one day, as Cornell was working on the vocals for a song called “Hunger Strike,”  a young vocalist — Vedder — walked up to the microphone to sing the lower-register parts. He did so without invitation, but could tell Cornell was having some issue nailing the part. (Cornell, for his part, loved Vedder’s work and quickly included him on the song.)

The result is one of the best rock and roll songs ever, an excellent mix of themes, guitar and incredible vocals — plus a great story.

Both are on the shortlist of greatest rock singers ever, and so having a track with both near their peaks is simply astounding.

And I’m goin hungry …

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